In the face of a pandemic, many of us have become increasingly aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy immune system. Unfortunately, our immune systems were already overworked long before Covid-19.
There are so many other factors that comprise the immune system daily. Here are some unknown immune suppressors that might make you more susceptible to the flu, colds, and other viruses.
Shelter in place has been essential for curbing the spread of Covid-19. While this measure has been necessary for others' health, it might have a negative impact on your own immune system. A 2016 study about toxins in dust particles identified 45 hazardous chemicals present in 90% of households.
Indoor pollutants accumulate over time from a variety of sources, including:
- Fuel Use
- Fragrances/Air Fresheners
- Litter Boxes
- Heavy Metals in the Air
- Carbon Monoxide
A 2019 analysis of indoor air pollution was released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just before the pandemic. This report concluded that the average person spends 90% of their day indoors. With shelter in place, we're breathing in these potentially hazardous on a more frequent basis.
We must improve the quality of indoor air by purifying it. The most effective way is by investing in an air purifier with activated charcoal and HEPA filters. However, little things like diffusing essential oils, burning white soy candles, and opening the windows can improve air quality, as well.
There are also many toxins in our skincare items. One study found that women apply over 168 synthetic chemicals to their bodies every day, while men use around 85. Additives like phthalates and parabens mimic estrogen, throwing off natural hormone production. When things don't go as planned, your immune system gets involved, needlessly using up its resources and causing inflammation. Try to cut down the use of artificial ingredients in your hygiene routine.
Stress isn't just "a part of life." Sure, little bursts of stress can push out of our comfort zones and help us grow as individuals. However, chronic stress eats away at the very fabric of who we are. Once it destroys us mentally, it's onto the physical...and that's where the immune system suffers.
Many of us know how cortisol can cause a litany of health problems. However, a lesser-known stress hormone known as corticosteroid can directly impact the immune system, too. Corticosteroids lower the level of lymphocytes in the system.
Lymphocytes are white blood cells that help create antibodies that eradicate and eliminate viruses from the body. Without them, your body is prone to repeated attacks from the same bugs.
Check off two immune suppressors like indoor pollutants and stress with one activity. Go outside! Nature is the ultimate cure for stress and indoor pollution. Plus, you can still go outdoors and maintain social distancing. The sun is your most abundant source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D modulates immune responses and can even decrease inflammation that might compromise immune cells.
Poor Gut Health
Did you know that over 80% of your immune system cells live in your gut? That's because your stomach has to deal with many potential attacks! There could be parasites in your raw fruits or veggies, fungi creeping up from your intestine, or bacteria in undercooked meats.
Our immune system takes on a lot of responsibility. So, it relies on our stomach bacteria to help keep things running smoothly. In fact, immune system cells and gut bacteria communicate with one another to modulate inflammatory responses to potential threats!
Healthy gut bacteria like all the things your mom tried forcing you to eat as a child. Eat more greens and fewer sweets. Artificial sugars cause inflammation that causes harmful bacteria to grow. Whereas, probiotic bacteria eat carbohydrates in our fruits and veggies. That helps your probiotics grow strong and fight off toxins. By upping your dietary fiber, you'll flush out toxins more regularly and cause less stress on your immune system.
From 1999 to 2009, food allergies in American children jumped 50%! Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has seen hospital visits over food allergies rise by 500% since 1990. These aren't little blips in data. Those are staggering numbers!
Sure, shellfish and peanuts are common allergies and food sensitivities. However, those are easy to avoid. We know what they are. Three other common allergies have the worst impact on people who follow a Western Diet, as they're hidden in so many commercial products.
The most common food sensitivities are:
- Gluten (Wheat Protein)
- Lactose (Dairy Enzyme)
- Soy (Tofu, Edamame, Miso, Soy Milk)
Unfortunately, many of us are unaware that these items are in products. For instance, gluten is included as a filler or binding agent in cosmetics and toothpaste. Powdered cheese is used to flavor so many processed foods. Plus, who knew soy had so many variations?!
If you are sensitive to these foods, your immune system causes inflammation. When these inflammatory foods make it into all of your square meals, that's a case for chronic inflammation and immunosuppression. Ultimately, these dietary habits can create an environment for autoimmune diseases.
Always eat organic when you can. Research shows that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) can change the DNA of microbes. We have microbes in our bodies. As we mentioned, those microbes communicate with immune system cells. Who knows what communication goes on when synthetic chemicals replace our biological ones? Don’t play guessing games if you can just buy organic.
Not Enough Exercise...or Too Much
It shouldn't come as a shocker that not enough exercise can cause stress on the immune system. Living a sedentary life causes weight gain that can fester chronic inflammation that destroys healthy immune cells.
With that said, too much exercise can also harm the body. A study involving Olympic athletes who endured 72 hours of strenuous exercise found that they were more likely to get sick in the following days.
The reason for this response goes back to our stress hormones. Stress is more than just mental anguish.
Your body can experience physical stress that causes the same hormones to be produced. As we mentioned before, corticosteroid lowers the levels of lymphocytes in the system, making us more susceptible to illness.
Exercise and diet are the two main components of a healthy immune system. Supplements help fill in the gaps.
The most effective immune-boosting supplement for a healthy lifestyle is Nutretics Greens & Reds. This all-natural supplement is enriched with antioxidants that fight off free radicals that cause disease.
It's further enhanced with botanicals, veggitbales, fruits and phytonutrients that boost gut health, fight inflammation, and relieve stress to promote a healthy immune system.